Coun Peter Price says, in his letter, January 1, that he is sick of people questioning the record of the last Labour Government and then goes on to list some of its achievements, including free bus passes and the Iraq war.
The problem though is that it was a legacy where the nation was left in ill health, where we were on the brink of bankruptcy. Labour promised us no more boom and bust, but we got the biggest bust because they spent money they didn’t have and because they had dismantled the mechanisms for overseeing and regulating the banks.
We all want better health services and schools, but these can only be funded sustainably with a vibrant economy.
Now Britain’s economic recovery is the envy of the world. Labour said the Conservative plans would lead to a million more unemployed. In fact there are 1.75 million more people in jobs than under Labour. In Sheffield, just in the last year, those claiming unemployment has dropped by over a quarter.
More and more long-term unemployed are now moving out of dependency and into jobs, many for the first time, often taking advantage of the 250,000 additional apprenticeships in Yorkshire alone.
Labour said it would be irresponsible to increase spending on the NHS in real terms, but this government has: resulting in 13,000 more front line doctors and nurses. Under Labour NHS productivity dropped and those like me who worked for the NHS in Sheffield resisted Labour’s dogmatic attempt to bring in blanket targets for “contestability” – ie private sector competition for core NHS services: targets set by diktat irrespective of what was right for the people of Sheffield.
In schools more children are getting a better education than five years ago – with one million more learning in schools ranked ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
Ian G Walker